Fresh Expressions & Pioneer Ministry

What is a fresh expression of church?

A Fresh Expression of church is a new Christian gathering developed mainly for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church.

Fresh expressions listen to those outside the church and enter their culture to help them meet and follow Jesus in an environment that is comfortable and relevant to them.

Most Anglican fresh expressions of church are part of parish ministry and accountable to local clergy.

Who are fresh expressions for?

Fresh expressions are for people who are interested in following Jesus but who are not able to come to a traditional service for a variety of reasons. 

How do we set one up?

1) Prayer: 

Listening to God and the people you want to serve to better understand the context in which the new church is to grow.

2) Loving Service: 

Get to know people in your community better by serving them.

3) Forming Community: 

Ensure people from the community can join in with serving and belong.

4) Evangelism & Discipleship: 

Be clear you are forming a community of people who want to follow Christ and build in suitable opportunities for this.


5) Evolving Worship: 

Worship patterns are created (and experimented on) which reflect the needs of the new emerging fresh expression of church.


6) Get Support:

  • Contact the fresh expressions enabler (see below).
  • Contact the Messy Church co-ordinator from our Children, Young People & Families Team.
  • Explore our resources below.


Examples of Fresh Expressions

Saturday Gathering in Halifax, a Fresh Expression of Church grown from a food bank.

Read their story here.


Fun-Key Church in Richmond is a congregation established with the needs of young families in mind. Visit its website here.



Lighthouse at St George’s Crypt in Leeds, a congregation emerging for homeless and vulnerable people. Read more here.


Across in the Wood is emerging in Grinton, Swaledale. The Church discovered that locals connected well with looking after the environment around the church building. Watch this video to find out more.


Sorted youth fresh expression of church, Bradford. You can read their story here.




What is pioneering ministry?

Pioneering in the Anglican Church is when people see and creatively respond to the Holy Spirit’s initiatives with those outside the church; gathering others around them as they seek to establish new contextual Christian communities. People engaged in this work are called pioneers. We have a mixture of ordained and lay pioneers in the diocese and more work is being done to encourage this ministry. For national information please click here. For information about ordained pioneer ministry in the diocese go to the vocations page.

Events, Training and Learning

Mission shaped MinistryThe mission shaped ministry learning community is for anyone interested in starting or developing a fresh expression of church, church plant or in making their current church more “mission shaped”. It is for individuals and teams to think outside – in rather than inside out about church and mission.

The 2018 Mission Shaped Ministry learning community is now open for bookings. 9 dates in the diary over one year. Learning hubs at St Mary’s Garforth and Boston Spa Methodist (just off the A1). Anglicans booking with their church leaders blessing are eligible for £200 grants. For more information and a booking form click here and contact Karin Shaw.

Mission Shaped Intro is a six week starter course to help churches to think and act missionally. It is free to download here. Contact Karin Shaw below for support or if you are interested in our own MSi-in-a-Day.


FEx Church EncouragementFresh Expressions of Church Encouragement Morning - If you are involved in leading or supporting a fresh expression of church then you are invited to Saint Peter’s, Gildersome on Saturday 3rd March. The morning will start with muffins and drinks at 9.30am an finish by 12.30pm. Come along and meet fellow leaders, share experiences, pray and learn. The main speaker is The Ven Andy Jolly.

RSVP by February 22 to including details of dietary requirements and special needs.

Useful Resources

Please find some websites below with helpful resources for Fresh Expressions of church.

Christians Against Poverty

Cinnamon Network

Messy Church

Sweaty Church

Who Let the Dads Out

The Trussell Trust


LYCIG Start Course

Rural Action Yorkshire

Church Urban Fund



Karin Shaw Diocesan Adviser for Fresh Expressions 
Karin Shaw
Robin Gamble Bishop's Adviser for Church Growth
Robin Gamble
Scroll to Top